The Issue of Physical Loss in COVID-19 Business Interruption Lawsuits
Businesses across the United States have joined forces to push insurance companies into providing business interruption payouts to those that have suffered severe losses due to Covid-19 lockdown. A huge number of restaurants, retailers, and other companies, have been hit hard by the pandemic. But their insurance claims have controversially been denied. Now, the businesses are battling back.
A number of businesses have filed lawsuits to force their insurers to cover billions in business interruption losses. A video berating the insurance industry ran for most of June on a giant screen in New York City’s Times Square, four times each hour around the clock. “Insurance companies: Do the right thing,” was the chorus at the end of the video. The Wall Street Journal, which published a detailed report on this matter, calls it “one of the biggest legal fights in the history of insurance.”
Businesses Are Struggling
Millions of businesses across the country, many of them small companies, have what is known as “business interruption” insurance. Without question, the pandemic interrupted their businesses. But insurance companies have, for the most part, refused to pay claims under this coverage citing a standard requirement for physical damage. More than half the property policies that are in effect today also specifically exclude viruses.
Many who are filing these business interruption lawsuits are arguing that there is physical damage because the coronavirus sticks to surfaces and render workplaces unsafe. So far, hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits have been filed and many more are anticipated. Several class-action lawsuits are also being filed to hold large insurance companies accountable. These insurance firms have taken premium payments from businesses for many years, and are now refusing to pay them at a time of dire need.
Celebrity chefs such as Wolfgang Puck have also joined this campaign against insurance companies that refuse to pay businesses. Even President Donald Trump raised the subject back in April saying that insurance companies should pay businesses that have paid for business-interruption coverage for many years.
The Fight for Justice
The California consumer lawyers at Bisnar Chase are investigating a number of cases where insurance companies have refused to pay businesses what they ought to rightfully receive. As the pandemic continues and cases begin to surge, businesses are still struggling. Insurance companies need to step up and do the right thing. If not, we are ready to fight to hold them accountable on behalf of our clients.